Your nature queries: The Batman bug and a window on death

Plus: a fish question, an unusual caterpillar and a mushroom that’s not to be trifled with

I came across two separate piles of hazelnut shells in a mixed broadleaf conifer wood at Pontoon, Co Mayo. Any idea what creature was feasting on them?
Simon Doran, Bofeeaun, Co Mayo
Squirrels. If you look closer at the shells you'll see that one end has been clipped; the squirrel then inserts its lower incisors and cracks the nut open.


I spotted this insect (above) on a raspberry leaf. With a little imagination you can see Batman's face mask. What is it?
Brian Buckley, Oughterard, Co Galway
It's a nymph of the common green shield bug, often called a stink bug as it produces a strong smell when disturbed. This is the first of four stages between which it moults, and each stage has a different pattern.



I found this fish on Furbo beach in Galway Bay. The closest I could get was a type of spikefish.
Brendan O'Sullivan, Cashel, Connemara

It's a boarfish. Due to the warming of the ocean shoals, these small fish (less than 30cm) have moved north into Irish waters following their zooplankton food supply.


Last month I came across this unusual caterpillar on the wall of the house.
Neil Spellacy, Moycullen, Co Galway

It’s the colourful caterpillar of the very drab grey dagger moth, which feeds on hawthorn and other deciduous trees.


I came across this fine specimen of fly agaric mushroom in a woodland near Limavady.
Michael Cross, Limavady, Co Derry

It is a noted poisonous mushroom.


With a sickening bang, this beautiful sparrowhawk flew into our window while chasing a small bird.
Rodney Devitt, Sandymount, Dublin 4

  • Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at Include a postal address.